Thursday, May 1, 2014

Nilgiri Times

Walking to a tiny schoolhouse in the clouds,
Much like the one Hillary built in a Sherpa village
Maroon sweaters and monkey caps in rows,
Breathing in the heady scent of pine and eucalyptus
The echo of the gong signalling recess break
Sunshiny days of hopscotch and 'teacher-teacher'.
Chasing butterflies under a blue blue sky
Where cotton clouds lay afloat.
Pretending to have long hair, a silly act
Achieved by wrapping  Amma's black dupatta around my mushroom cut.
Camp fires and kayaking
Pitching tents in untouched forests
A game of antakshari
Disturbed by the arrival of an uninvited guest:
A wild boar, indignant at the intrusion of its space.
Tuesday trips to town
Beginning with a visit to St Anthony's church
Followed by another one to the Ayappan kovil
St Anthony and Ayappan, no different
The Prince of Peace and the Prince of Pandalam, the same.
Done with the pilgrimages, time for pleasure.
Masala dosai and black currant ice cream at Kurinji's.
Tea at the old Irani chai shop.
Long hours at the Higginbotham's bookshop
And then a sleepy journey home
In the rickety town bus
Filled with people returning to the mountain villages
Gunny sacks with rice and vegetables
A chicken, here and there
Lovedale, Ketti, Yelenahalli, yells the conductor
The biting cold of the evening outside
And the smelly warmth inside the bus
Gently lulling me into the land of sleep.




Thursday, May 1, 2014

Nilgiri Times

Walking to a tiny schoolhouse in the clouds,
Much like the one Hillary built in a Sherpa village
Maroon sweaters and monkey caps in rows,
Breathing in the heady scent of pine and eucalyptus
The echo of the gong signalling recess break
Sunshiny days of hopscotch and 'teacher-teacher'.
Chasing butterflies under a blue blue sky
Where cotton clouds lay afloat.
Pretending to have long hair, a silly act
Achieved by wrapping  Amma's black dupatta around my mushroom cut.
Camp fires and kayaking
Pitching tents in untouched forests
A game of antakshari
Disturbed by the arrival of an uninvited guest:
A wild boar, indignant at the intrusion of its space.
Tuesday trips to town
Beginning with a visit to St Anthony's church
Followed by another one to the Ayappan kovil
St Anthony and Ayappan, no different
The Prince of Peace and the Prince of Pandalam, the same.
Done with the pilgrimages, time for pleasure.
Masala dosai and black currant ice cream at Kurinji's.
Tea at the old Irani chai shop.
Long hours at the Higginbotham's bookshop
And then a sleepy journey home
In the rickety town bus
Filled with people returning to the mountain villages
Gunny sacks with rice and vegetables
A chicken, here and there
Lovedale, Ketti, Yelenahalli, yells the conductor
The biting cold of the evening outside
And the smelly warmth inside the bus
Gently lulling me into the land of sleep.